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Thread: BACK ORDERS! The elephant in the room.

  1. #41
    Papa's Avatar
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    I told myself I wasn't going to join this discussion, but that ship has now sailed. I'd like to simply address the tone of this thread as it is more like what you find in other forums and not what I've come to enjoy about this forum. To those that have issues with the way Factory Five has handled your order, call them and discuss it directly with them. Your fellow builders are not going to be able to fix this for you; only Factory Five can do that. If you want to discuss your concerns with Dave Smith, call him. I'd be willing to bet that he'd take the time to speak to you if you ask. I've had a couple of moments of frustration myself with various aspects of my project and found that venting here instead of talking to the vendor directly didn't resolve anything. Talking directly and frankly with the vendors proved to be the most beneficial for all parties.

    Dave
    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

    My Build Thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...ter-Build-9754

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  3. #42
    Ang's 33 HRC amasciarelli21's Avatar
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    Its nice to see a cool, calm conversation regarding backorders, I purchased my kit back in 2013 and there was a handful of back ordered parts and although I wasn't building on a time table I would have rather had everything shipped at once, w/ that said all the parts came within two months including a few pieces that were damaged and needed to be replaced but I have to wonder the shipping costs on all these back ordered items through the all these years must be a pretty good expense so I would think if they could get ahead of the curve w inventory then we as humans could find something new to complain about. LOL.

    Note: I haven't had to deal w ff for quite a while but I always found them to be very helpful and courteous when I did speak w/ them so I hope they can improve on the backorder issues.

  4. #43
    Senior Member Duke's Avatar
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    My 2 cents for what its worth:

    I'm not surprised by the two general messages I'm seeing. I too was very disappointed and frustrated with the inventory management and backlog situation at FFR when I purchased and received my kit. There seams to be two main themes in this thread's messaging: (1) As a manufacturing company who builds effectively the same product year after year with minor changes for 20+ years, this should have been addressed and processes put into place years ago to improve customer satisfaction. (2) Don't criticize our beloved FFR, they are doing their best and it's just all part of the experience.

    Out of two pages, I've only seen one solid suggestion which bears re-quoting:

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK View Post
    I'm always about solutions and not just problems, so here are a few ideas. It seems that Factory Five already know what items are backordered at the time the kit is completed, as it sounds like a backorder list is included with the shipment. Why can't this list be e-mailed to the customer on the kit complete date? Also, instead of the customer having to call up every week to check on the status of backorders, why can't an update e-mail go out once a week? This could easily be system-generated by your MRP system, which would save you the personnel-time of having to field calls from every customer with an outstanding backorder. (Hopefully you do have a decent MRP system. If not, that's a good chunk of your problem right there). Just a couple of ideas on ways to improve communications and hopefully ease the backorder headaches. Just my $0.02, having dealt with more than my fair share of backorders and angry customers.
    Small specialty manufacturing is simply never going to get inventory management perfect with zero back orders. In this day an age of just in time manufacturing, it's nearly impossible. That being said, after 20+ years it's still being managed (FFR) like a mom & pop shop. Just like FFR invests in new tooling for expansion and capacity management, there should be investment in MRP systems/inventory management systems as well. Bar code scanning for all inventory parts to fulfill kit builds should be the norm, exact reporting of inventory levels at any given time, auto triggers for reordering in advance of running quantities to zero, automated notification emails for build status & completed parts lists/packing lists per box sent to customers, and automated emails for weekly back order status parts. If you don't know where you are, it's hard to predict where you're going.

    I'm not sure why this hasn't been addressed yet. I would think that it's something that a board of directors (or an advisory board) would want to normally review at least annually. Possibly because #2 response above it's not viewed as a real problem? IMO, this is an easy 12m project that would be a big win in customer satisfaction and improved word of mouth marketing.

    Again, just my personal opinions, but I think they may resonate with a few people.

  5. #44
    Papa's Avatar
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    3) If you want to talk to Dave Smith, call him. Don't call him out in a public forum.
    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

    My Build Thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...ter-Build-9754

  6. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZPete View Post
    All of you guys overlooked the positive aspect of backorders!
    When I got my first FFR kit I told my wife some parts were backordered and would arrive later. (true)
    Then I bought other cool parts, mostly because you forum members made me. (true)
    So, when boxes arrived, I just said, "another prepaid backorder" and she relaxed. (sometimes true)
    "But it's from ____," she said. I told her Factory Five has parts drop-shipped from their source. (not so true)
    For my second FFR kit, she was already conditioned that "prepaid backorders" would be delivered for months and months and . . . years.
    No tsunamis in the marital pond, thanks to backorders!
    THIS GUY, HERE!!!!!lol

  7. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa View Post
    3) If you want to talk to Dave Smith, call him. Don't call him out in a public forum.
    I’m one of those that doesn’t agree with this statement. After 20 years (pretty much when I bought my first kit from them) of the same issue it should be discussed publicly. If there was no issue, there would be nothing to “call him out” on.

  8. #47
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    It’s unproductive for me or anyone else to respond to all of the excuses, brush offs, no problems, etc.

    I have been following FFR for years but not on forums. Simply watching the number of model versions and number of models grow and always being impressed by what was offered. FFR has been engaged in manufacturing replica kits since 1995 and in my opinion looks to always be seeking to improve the product.

    When it came time to build one, it was a simple matter to pick the model (35’ Truck), choose the options and place the order. The order/deposit was placed and an invoice was provided with an end date. Ordered middle of August 2018, with ready to ship date the end of September.

    Approximately 6.5 weeks from order to ship ready, which met expectations based on having contacted FFR about the lead time earlier. Contracted Stewart Transport and then expected that the kit would arrive sometime in the first 10 days of October. There was no communication otherwise.

    The partial kit finally arrived at the end of October missing critical parts since the plan was to create a rolling chassis right away. 11 weeks after placing the order and 5 weeks after making the final payment is the very first time I was made aware of parts on back order. Critical parts such as front hubs, steering and suspension components. We are told the last remaining parts will ship sometime in January 2019. No specific date given. That’s around 21 weeks from point of order or about 40% of the year.

    FFR had to know at some point that there were significant delays in obtaining parts for the kit and that Stewart Transport was running weeks behind. Neither company provided any communication along the order process. Nothing, zip, nada! Extremely disappointing! I shouldn’t have to call or email them every week they should be calling or emailing me!

    Should a new customer have to search blogs and forums to find out this is the typical FFR process? How about FFR providing that information upfront. Such as:

    “FFR almost never ships a complete kit.” “FFR is in a perpetual state of back order on certain kit components and Stewart Transport is running weeks behind on delivery.” “More than likely, nothing in either regard is going to change.” I believe those 2 statements would be factually accurate a year or more ago, currently and in the foreseeable future. I can’t believe it after following FFR for years but my experience is that it’s true!

    FFR is spending significant time and resources on kit improvements, attending SEMA and other events, and developing new models using virtual reality but it can’t deliver complete orders. Most companies practice UPOD, Under Promise, Over Deliver. I’m not sure what adjective to use to describe the current FFR process.

    I can only imagine the nightmare of tracking all of the back orders spread among all of the orders nationwide. Not to mention the added shipping cost to FFR, lost and damaged secondary shipments, etc. Of course, we pay for all the additional shipping cost. It’s built into the price.

    Wouldn’t it be great if FFR would inform its current and future customers of the following:
    1. Is FFR focused like a laser on the huge back order problem? Please elaborate.
    2. What are the goals in that regard? When can customers expect that a kit can be ordered and delivered complete in 6 weeks? 8
    weeks?, 10 weeks?, 15 weeks?, 18 weeks?
    3. Or does FFR expect and foresee the status quo? Please elaborate.

    Perhaps Jay Kravitz from FFR can weigh in here.

  9. #48
    Senior Member wareaglescott's Avatar
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    Bottom line is it is their business and they are gonna run it how they want. Until they feel the situation is hurting them enough that they need to address it nothing will change. I can only assume in their point of view it is not worth making changes yet.

    The backorders and tracking them down bugged me but the fact that I can call them for free help, the attitude of the people I spoke with and their level of customer service in every aspect of the operation other than backorders was an amazing experience. I did something particularly dumb and destroyed a hard to replace component from speed hut during the build. Called up and spoke to Tony and he literally dug around in a box under his desk and happened to have one and mailed it to me for free. Where else are you getting that sort of service?
    Me and Duke went to the factory for a visit. None other than Dave Smith spent 45 minutes personally taking us on a tour. Then as it was approaching lunch time he took us out to lunch with him and about 6 of the guys. What other CEO of a large company is doing that? Some I'm sure but not many. Cherry picking and harping on one negative aspect of the operation and focusing on it while not looking at the big picture is a little silly in my opinion. Big picture I believe 99% of the customers will rate the overall experience as a positive. I know I sure do.
    MK4 #8900 - complete kit - Coyote, TKO600, IRS - Delivered 6/28/16 First Start 10/6/16 Go cart - 10/16/16 Build completed - 4/26/17 - 302 days to build my 302 CI Coyote Cobra - Registered and street legal 5/17/17
    Build Thread http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...e-build-thread
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  10. #49
    Senior Member Duke's Avatar
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    Echoing what Scott said, the employees at FFR are top notch and truly care about providing a great experience. I agree that the 'thorn' of the POL/Back log and inventory management process shouldn't clout the otherwise exemplary customer service the FFR team provides. I think we can only 'hope' that a new state of the art inventory management system is implemented to mirror the new VR technology. That would really bring their offering to the next level for customer experience.

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  12. #50
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    I hope I can be a catalyst for change and I will keep pushing for it. Publicly, privately, whatever it takes.
    Last edited by Stallion; 12-16-2018 at 07:03 PM.

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  14. #51

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    This thread reminds me of an experience I had at a job several years ago. I was able to sit in on a session given by the head of customer relations for a large retailer with over 8,000 stores in the US. During part of the session, she opened up the 1-800 Complaint Line into the loud speakers of the room. We were listening to actual real time complaint calls and it was absolutely hysterical. These folks were on a roll! One after another they ranted about this and then that. After the calls, someone in the group asked her how she could put up with such negative and emotional people all day long. Her reaction changed my view immediately. You would have thought that they called her baby child ugly. She explained that the customers who are willing to speak up and voice their concerns passionately are the companies most valuable customers and she always loves to hear from them because they can help the company improve. She was a Saint - and absolutely correct.

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  16. #52
    Senior Member SSNK4US's Avatar
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    I’m having a REALLY hard time holding my tongue with all of this. (Because I’ve turned into a grumpy old man, at least that’s what my wife says lol)

    Sure everything and everyone can always improve, whether it’s FFR, Sears, Nordstrom, me....

    But none of us work at Factory Five, except for Jay, so we really have no clue one way or another what goes on there with respect to this thread. What they’re trying to improve or how they’re trying to do it.

    Communication? Sure EVERYONE can work on that.... but sit down with your significant other, kids, best friend, neighbor or coworker and see how well YOU actually communicate. Sure communication always helps everything but again we’re not in
    their shoes so we have no idea do we? Does anybody even know how many people work there? 8? 20? 100? Is Jay working on B/O’s then putting tubing into jigs to be welded? Probably not, but still do we really know? There are two sides to every coin.

    I guess my point is this thread started to get a little heated? FFR puts out a FANTASTIC product! and I don’t think many can disputed that fact at all. This forum is by builders, about builders and for builders.

    David pulled his reply at the beginning for being too caustic. Sorry Dave I don’t agree and I think you should have left it on there. I almost PMed you saying so. You were defending your baby, the company you believe in, as we all do. It was a knee jerk emotional response that I’m sure was a lot less caustic then some responses that other people could have posted.

    Oh back to my point lol. Does FFR need some communication improvement? Of course, we all can.
    Is this thread worth all the time spent on it?
    IMO.... no.
    I’d rather be reading and looking at pictures of some more of Papa’s powder coating adventures or reading Dave’s or Edwardb’s or Jazzman’s (and so many others, but you get the point) build threads for the 100th time. Or laughing at da bats comments (I wanna be just like him when I grow up) Or learning something new or important from the other Jeff lol

    Just my 2¢ My rant is over.....

    Kurt
    Last edited by SSNK4US; 12-16-2018 at 10:14 PM.
    If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough....

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    MKIV complete kit # 9395 delivered 7/31/18

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  18. #53
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    I received my kit and had exactly the same frustration and may have written the same post at the time. As a newbie to the build world, I waited for years to make the purchase, then plunk down 30K, the parts arrive and you open the manual to start the build and the nut to hold the lower control arm is missing! It did get me crazy... But then you settle down and realize that there is much to do and move on to something else. I was forced to spend time doing more research to get better ideas so the delay became a good thing in the end for me.

    Two things I do agree with, the communication could be better from FF5 before the order is shipped and the option of a Complete Kit should be considered.
    Last edited by JL1744; 12-17-2018 at 09:27 PM.

  19. #54
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    Parts that we needed still on back order that we may receive sometime in January from FFR:

    Steering joints - We purchased from JEGS and had them in 3 days
    Rear brake pads - We purchased from Advance Auto Parts and had them same day
    Brake reservoirs - We purchased from Wilwood and had them in 3 days

  20. #55

    Steve >> aka: GoDadGo
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    I've been following this thread just to see where it was headed so with that said:

    I am very glad that I ordered my project when the economy was softer than soft and asked for an extended delivery date because I specifically stated that I didn't want to deal with back ordered items....My only regret is having life related set backs and work getting in the way of completing my car....

    Sorry you all are dealing with so many Ship Later-/-Back Order issues.

    Good Luck From The Dark-Dart Side!
    Last edited by GoDadGo; 12-19-2018 at 12:59 PM.

  21. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stallion View Post
    Parts that we needed still on back order that we may receive sometime in January from FFR:

    Steering joints - We purchased from JEGS and had them in 3 days
    Rear brake pads - We purchased from Advance Auto Parts and had them same day
    Brake reservoirs - We purchased from Wilwood and had them in 3 days
    Not trying to antagonize you but I'm honestly wondering what you're trying to accomplish. If you really want to be a "catalyst for change" as you said, then offer up some suggestions for imrpovement. I have. Others have. Your posts are just rants. If you just want validation over your frustration, that's OK too. I'm sorry for your frustration. I can genuinely appreciate that it sucks to be waiting around for parts. If that's all that you want, can we all move along now? Otherwise, offer up some ideas.

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  23. #57
    East Coast Speed Machines Erik W. Treves's Avatar
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    So like many others I have been watching this post.... no hiding it .. I am a Factory 5 guy through and through... been doing it for a few days now...

    not sure what "change" or catalyst we are trying to create by creating this polarizing thread that honestly will only distract from building.

    Comparing Jegs to FFR is kinda of silly... the volume that Jegs gets vs. FFR isn't even in the same neighborhood and I am sure FFR has their purchase agreements and contracts... but given the supplier(A) choice to supply to a small company or to a nation wide company... I think we know who is getting the parts.

    You can never please everyone... sure we fork out the cash .. but FFR does deliver the kit and they get it to you as quick as they can so you at least have something to start with....or would rather have them hold your money until every part is available and then ship 6-12 months later... then we'd be seeing catalyst threads on how FFR has our money but hasn't delivered the kit....

    and for the other argument of well then they shouldn't sell the kit until they are 100% - well that's an interesting business position... I would say that's a receipt to sell very few kits per year.

    so it's a compromise...

    but do your homework...

    sure there are back orders... but you WILL get your parts. You can't put them all on in one day... believe me I TRIED!

    So we are clear... the back order parts are on the TRUCK? If so are you really surprised that the 1st year out of a new kit that their wouldn't be logistical problems on supply since a lot of the components are common to all the kits.

    On that note... as a Family (welcome to the Family BTW) - if you are one who is open and honest you may find other fellows that would actually GIVE YOU parts that you are lacking while you wait since they may not be as far ahead...

    that's the thing about The Factory Five Group... we don't want you to buy a kit and build it all by yourself and we never hear from you again.... join in the fun... if you're a stuck... don't stand in the rain and complain about that it's raining when 5 of us standing inside all have umbrellas ... we will certainly give you one until you are ready to come inside....

    BTW - I have those steering joints and a couple shafts left over from several of my builds - which you could have had for shipping

    I needed a front window for a GTM before and a local guy let me have his while I waited 2 months to get mine....

    yeah it's a bummer we don't get the parts right away... but if you don't have suspension pieces... work something else.. gas tank...don't have that... get the body on there and gap that...it all has to get done.

    I got burned by Stewart Transport - so we are clear ... they don't work for FFR... they held up my truck build going to SEMA for 2 months even though Tony from FFR helped me with coordination...

    If you REALLY need the part call... they will figure something out. ... Communication is a 2 way street... sure they could call you... OR better call them ... if it's important to you then call... if not then don't .

    in the end - yes I agree having back ordered parts is frustrating - but isn't like they forgot to ship them. You will have to call from time to time to ensure the parts that important to you are enroute... if you need help ... ask the forum... there might be somebody by you that could loan you a part.... happens every day!

    From your list - I don't see anything there that wouldn't have kept you from getting a TON of stuff done.

    Anyway hope your build goes well... the truck is fun to drive... gets a lot of looks . Make sure you look in the Build section when it comes time for the doors and the bed pieces... specifically the roll pan.

    If you need some other parts ... post it up on truck forum... I have a few other odds and ends from the Beta verification build I did that might get you by in a pinch... FWIW the brake reservoir for the truck is 1 each stainless container - not the wilwood plastic stuff....

    I am sure people with disagree with some, if not all of what I said, and that's fine... but the forum is about helping out the guy next you- and making the community better... not beating up FFR business practice... if you have issue with that - then stand firm and contact them! They will listen if you have a valid concern.

    Don't waste time on this - just go finish your kit... the rewards are just few more installed parts away... it's all part of the Journey!
    Last edited by Erik W. Treves; 12-20-2018 at 12:35 AM.
    FFR 1879, Blown DSS 306,REDLINE management, VeryCoolParts Tuned 460RWHP

    FFR 818S, The Flash, Chassis #5, 2.0L, LSD, Electromotive TEC-S, VCP Tuned, 278RWHP 265 RWTQ

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    FFR 0004, Gen 3 , Hawk Coupe, Coyote twin turbo, 683 RWHP 559 RWTQ, IRS, VCP Tuned. "not too shabby"

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  25. #58
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    The question is - What is the problem at FFR? We can only guess because FFR has not bothered to inform its past, current and future customers (the FFR community). FFR should be informing all of us of the problem right now, right up front on its website and also informing us of what they are doing to address it. We want to build again with all of the ordered parts.

    When we can buy parts that they have on back order and have them in 3 days, I can't begin to understand the problem.

    I have more questions then I have answers. Not sure why there are those of you that would like to see this discussion end before FFR provides some answers. Jay Kravitz from FFR checked in once but haven't seen him respond to the questions I posted above.

    I'm just waiting to see what others have to say and what FFR has to say.

  26. #59
    Administrator David Hodgkins's Avatar
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    I'm not in favor of your attitude! Keeping this thread open and demanding public responses from FFR is your attempt to publicly punish and shame them IMO

    Call FFR!
    Last edited by David Hodgkins; 12-19-2018 at 08:11 PM.

    FFR 5369 Pin Drive, IRS, Trigos, Torsen, Wilwoods, FMS BOSS 302 "B" cam , Mass-flo. CA SB100 (SPCN) Registered
    Delivered 4/23/06. "Finished" 4/2012 (still not done!)


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